Disclaimer: The only thing I own is the story idea and only some of the witty remarks. I own so little; so please don't steal.
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Title: Powdered Sugar
Summary: Truth, like powdered sugar, tastes sweet but goes down cold.
Pairings: Antonio/Romano, Francis/Matthew, Ludwig/Feliciano, onesided Gilbert/Romano, Alfred/Arthur
Shoes squeaked across the paved stone floor, leaving unsightly black streaks against the polished cobblestone. The air tingled with static, with muffled shouts coming from the floor beneath the three teenagers' feet. One of the thieves, a panicked Spaniard whose frantic expression worked his normally carefree face, was trotting down the hallway. A body plummeted out of an adjacent room, a mess of ungainly limbs and shock of white hair. They nearly collided but the albino caught himself in time and the two continued their run down the hallway.
"He's with the goods. What did you do?"
"Nothing! They came back sooner than I thought. I didn't get the crack the safe yet!" The albino, an itchy fingered pickpocket named Gilbert Beilschmidt, grumbled, punching the air halfheartedly. "Did you get anything?"
"I was taking some of the silverware downstairs when the lock clicked and I had to hightail it out of there but they saw me anyway." The Spaniard shrugged, pulling a mess of silver forks, knives, and spoons out of his pocket. "I managed to grab these though."
"Sweet!" The two wrestled into the last room on the right, where a long-haired teen was busily throwing jewelry onto the bed in the room. He jumped at the arrival at the two, although when he recognized them, he breathed again, slapping a hand on his chest.
"Honestly, Gilbert, Antonio, when I heard the people coming back, I was going to abandon the two of you! And you try and give me heart attack when I reconsider? Did you get anything to add to this treasure trove?"
Antonio threw the silverware into the mess of goods the long haired boy had collected in the middle of the bed. "I'm impressed, Francis!" Gilbert whistled, staring at the mess of antiques, designer bags and pillows, jewelry, and rolls of paper Francis found in the rooms. "Although how we're going to get all this out of here is beyond me."
"Easy, darling," Francis chastised, looking slightly put out. "You insult me." He pushed everything they had pilfered in the middle of the bed sheet, everything from precious metal to green pillows with white ruffles to glittering gems combining into a plethora of color. "If we couldn't get away with everything we went to the trouble of getting, my name wouldn't be Francis Bonnefoy! Now, away, children~!"
Wrapping everything up in the bedspread like a dumpling, Francis swung the pack over his shoulder as the voices started to ascend the stairs. No doubt the homeowners had seen the work of the trio and their thieving hands and were coming to retrieve what was rightfully theirs again. Francis beckoned and he ran out to the balcony of the open window, throwing his legs over the edge. Gilbert and Antonio followed, Antonio turning with dancer's ease to close the window behind them. With a graceful leap despite the bag around his shoulders, Francis reached the ground and took off running toward the gate. Gilbert didn't bother with any neatness; he took off running and leapt off the balcony as if he were diving into a pool. Collapsing in a heap, he lay laughing until Antonio landed next to him and pulled him up. Francis was already perched on the wall, shouting at them with the white pack on his back.
"You hooligans!" A voice called for them from the balcony the three had just narrowly escaped from. Francis quickly disappeared over the edge before he could be recognized and the two were already sprinting up the wall, nimbly climbing up the vines like any Robin Hood was expected to know now to do skillfully. "Come back! You won't get away with this!"
"Oh, hush, old man," Gilbert muttered under his breath, a cackle already struggling to escape his throat. Antonio smirked, his hands reaching the top of the wall.
"You three will be caught," a woman's voice called, soft but threatening. As Antonio fell on the other side of the wall, Gilbert whooping as he leapt, he could almost see the woman, a commanding broad with a sneer on her face and a feather boa wrapped menacingly around her neck. Gilbert yelled at him, an incomprehensible sound as he rushed past. The Spaniard jolted back to the present and followed, never looking back on the plundered house.
"That was a good haul!" Gilbert, being the best and quickest at counting at bills, had been counting each roll of money with fevered gusto. "I got to hand it to you, Bonnefoy; you know what to grab when you're in hot water."
"These are good too," Antonio defended, holding up his stash of forks. "I can't even read the label on the back." He flashed the exotic words engraved on the handles of the utensils.
"That's so cute!" Francis squealed suddenly, grabbing the spoon out of Antonio's hands. "They've got names on them! 'Feliciano Vargas'…it's not another language, you idiot. It's a name."
They were crowded in Francis's compacted apartment, a small hidey-hole in the city where the blinds were broken and didn't open so the sun struggled through the vinyl cracks. The couch was raggedy from age and there was a general scent of dust and teenager. They were sitting in a triangle, the loot scattered around them. The bed sheet was thrown over the couch in a mess.
"You always have such a good eye, Gilbert!" Francis continued, examining the pillows for defects that could prevent them from selling for a good price. "Your ingrained nose for money always gets us to the best watering holes."
"Of course," Gilbert said proudly, tossing his head as he tied a rubber band around the last stack of bills. "Some of us just have the talent."
Francis chuckled, looking tickled pink. "The sooner we get this stuff out of our hands, then the sooner we can go back to our innocent-no-we-did-not-just-rob-that-house lives. Alright? How much do you think these bags can get us?"
"A couple thousands," Gilbert calculated, poking each bag as Antonio sniffed the mink around his neck and recoiled at the musty stench. "These are silk pillows…my professional fingers can feel it. These should rank up a few hundreds…Antonio's food ware should give us a couple too…should we sell the bed sheet too?"
"I don't know…I'm kind of attached to the thing."
"Where am I?"
At the intrusion of a new, noticeably higher pitched voice, the three jumped, the mink unraveling from Antonio's neck. Francis dropped the bag. A pillow had just stood up and rubbed its eyes; but at closer inspection, it wasn't a pillow after all, but a boy – a boy no more than seven wearing what looked like a green gown and a ruffled white apron.
There was silence, but Gilbert screamed first. "When I said steal," he shouted, backing away from the boy like he was a bomb, "I meant inanimate objects! Who took the kid?!"
"I didn't!" Antonio yelled, backing away and throwing the gloves at the boy, who yelped as they hit him. "Francis, did you see him?"
"I thought he was a pillow!" Francis insisted. "He was lying on the bed with the other pillows!"
"Pillows don't move!" Gilbert cried, grabbing the bed sheet. "That's it. We're done for. We've got to kill the kid."
There was a flurry of movement before Gilbert could bring the white sheet over the boy's head as Francis tackled his friend, bringing him to the ground as Antonio grabbed the boy and brought him behind him in protection. "We don't kill little kids!" Francis hissed, struggling with his albino friend to get the sheet out of his hands.
"What can we do?" Gilbert yelled, resisting for the sake of resisting. "That kid was theirs…! You know as well as I do that he's seen our faces!"
"Shh," Antonio said suddenly, bringing a finger to his lips, an unusual calculating look on his face that silenced the two. "You're right. He's seen us. We can't take him back and we can't leave him on the doorstep."
"Where am I?" the boy interrupted, looking rumpled and confused, rubbing his eyes on the verge of crying. There was a childish anger on his face that badly hid the fear of the new place. He was still behind Antonio but backed away when the Spanish teen turned back to him.
"Hi there…what's your name?"
"None of your damn business," the boy mumbled, still looking distraught. Gilbert let out a bark of laughter.
"Alright…" Antonio smiled. "I'll tell you my name. I'm Antonio. Antonio Fernandez Carriedo. Do you know why you're here?"
The boy sniffed, looking ready not to answer but seemed to rethink this. "No. Tell me, you stupid man."
"Well…" He glanced at Francis and Gilbert, who were both staring at him as expectantly as the boy. "The thing is…your family…has died."
Francis's mouth fell open and Gilbert clamped a hand over it just to be safe. The boy frowned, looking slightly upset. "What do you mean?"
"I mean…your house…burned down. We happened to be in the area, me and my friends…and we saved you before you could get hurt."
The boy stared at him, looking small and helpless in the green gown. Antonio thought that on different circumstances, he would wonder why any parent would dress their male son in a dress, but that was a question for another day. "And we can't go back," he added, as the boy opened his mouth to speak. "Because…some bad people were the ones who burned your house down. And the police are looking for them. If the bad people know we told on them, you might get kidnapped and get hurt. So…you can't tell anyone."
Francis started making noises behind Gilbert's hands but the albino kept it tightly over his mouth.
"So…what's your name?" Antonio smiled, feeling slightly put out for telling such wild lies to a child, but it would save their asses for now. The boy seemed to think things over, before replying in a voice so soft that no one could catch it.
"Romano?" Antonio guessed. The boy didn't answer for a moment and nodded.
Francis finally broke free of Gilbert's hand and stood up, looking livid. "Antonio, Gilbert, I have to have a word with you. Right now." He crossed the room to a corner, daring anyone not to come. Gilbert quickly followed him, scampering over; Antonio glanced at them, before excusing himself from Romano, who had forgotten him and started exploring the apartment.
"Antonio, what were you thinking?" Francis snarled, bringing the two together for a private meeting. "You're telling outrageous lies to a child! Now there's no hope to bring him back! We should have just quickly covered his eyes and deposited him back where he belongs!"
"We couldn't have done that," Antonio insisted. "He could identify us in a second."
"We could have left!"
"I'm sure we wouldn't just be able to abandon him in front of his house, which we just robbed. No matter how we would have disposed of the kid, we wouldn't be able to just get off with nothing! Besides, he doesn't seem to be too much trouble." He paused. "He seems like such a cute kid."
"A cute kid with a mouth," Gilbert reminded. "And I'm with Francis on this one. We're fucking seventeen, Antonio. We can't raise a kid. He's barely six or something!" He poked his head out of the circle, prompting the three of them to turn simultaneously to see the kid picking up one of the silver spoons Antonio had stolen. "Um, need I remind you that our awesome resumes include being high school dropouts, you running away from your family, Francis being the misunderstood rich kid, and me being the disowned failure child?! Not to mention our life of exotic crime? We can't keep a kid and our living at the same time."
"You're also taking him away from his own family," Francis reminded. "He's not a puppy we picked up off the street. He's a kid."
"We're thieves, not kidnappers!" Gilbert chimed in.
Antonio looked almost desperate. "Come on, guys. Look, the kid has seen everything and he knows what we look like. Okay, he doesn't know what happened, but do we just tell him we're bad guys? You know as well as I do that if we get hauled in, we're in for hell. My folks will drag me back, Francis will be under house-arrest and Gilbert, you've got way too many grand thief autos under your belt and you'll probably be in juvenile prison until you're sixty. It's not worth returning the kid and getting caught, especially if those people he comes from have called the cops and everything. They're probably out looking for us."
"Crap!" Gilbert smacked a hand against his forehead. "Well, you're in for a shitload of work, Antonio. The kid's yours. We gotta get outta here. With a missing kid with our names on it, we better get out of the area. Francis, help me get the chloroform." With a smirk in Antonio's direction, he shrugged. "Just kidding. Maybe."
It was only high noon when everything in the apartment had been torn off the foundations that incriminated the trio. Gilbert was trying to kick all their junk into the backseat of the ratty green blue Suburban they owned. Francis was trying to make sense of a map that might take them far out enough to avoid detection. Antonio (wondering if he had it in him to be a father) was trying to reason with Romano.
"I don't know if I want to go anywhere with you weirdoes," Romano sulked, staying in the doorway of the apartment as Gilbert celebrated closing the trunk. They still had the goods from the house they had robbed; there would be no time to sell them here. "I miss my mommy."
"Come on," Antonio urged, trying not to act like an overbearing parent. "It will be fun, I promise." He watched the boy pout at the door. "We've got to get you other clothes than that dress."
At the mention of the dress, Romano perked up. "I won't have to wear this anymore?"
"Nope. You're not a girl, anyway."
Excitement passed quickly on the boy's face. He was still trying to be difficult for them, it appeared. "Vargas," he said, as Francis got in the car and Gilbert called for them to get in.
"Vargas. That's my last name." Romano slipped his tiny hand into Antonio's and pulled him to the car. "Let's go!"
To be continued
Note: I apologize. I should not have started a new multi-fic, but this bunny wouldn't leave me alone. I came up with it and it wouldn't let me go until I wrote it. I wonder if I tricked anyone into clicking with the cutesy title. It was a title I wanted to use but never got the fluffy story to go with it. This will not be all fluff, I guarantee you. I feel bad; I know this could never happen and I like all my fics to be in the realm of possibility. But I've never kidnapped or planned one, so I'm using my limited knowledge to make this plausible. So please extend your imaginations on this one! It's a fanfiction after all! (cries) Review, anyway.